Fixing Our Criminal Justice System

Maureen MurdockAddiction, Criminal Justice System8 Comments

Photo of man behind bars and scales of justice

Bill Keller of the New York Times recently wrote an opinion piece entitled “America on Probation” about the current effort to fix our criminal justice system. It’s about time because our prisons are an international disgrace. The following are some of the remedies he cited: Sentencing: The 70’s crack epidemic set off a binge of punitive sentencing laws which resulted in … Read More

Two Faces of Prison

Maureen MurdockArt and Creativity, Criminal Justice System8 Comments

Yesterday I received my weekly email bulletin from San Quentin. A prisoner who was serving a life term with the possibility of parole, Thomas Curby Henderson,  “fell” off a fourth-story tier (imagine a catwalk 4 floors up) in the infamous West Block of the prison last Tuesday. “Fell” is a euphemism for “was thrown off.”  Who pushed him to his … Read More

Caretaking: Is Taking Action Helpful or Harmful?

Maureen MurdockAddiction, Mental Illness11 Comments

I have been to many NAMI and Al-Anon meetings over the years that were attended primarily by mothers and grandmothers dealing with their son’s or daughter’s mental illness and/or addiction. I’ve always wondered why there were so few fathers in attendance. Were they afraid to acknowledge their child had a problem? In general, it seems that mothers take on the … Read More

Shameful Profiling of the Mentally Ill

Maureen MurdockCriminal Justice System, Mental Illness10 Comments

In the recent Sunday New York Times, Andrew Solomon reported that a Canadian woman was recently denied entry to the United States because she had been hospitalized for depression in 2012.  She was told she could not visit unless she obtained medical clearance from one of three Toronto doctors approved by the Department of Homeland Security. A report from her … Read More

Creativity and Mental Illness

Maureen MurdockArt and Creativity, Mental Illness7 Comments

Nest by Alexandra Petersen

After I posted my last blog about Bring Change 2 Mind’s mission to fight stigma and discrimination associated with mental illlness, I received an email from a friend about a unique art gallery in Portland, Oregon that shows the work of artists who are challenged with a mental illness. J. Pepin Art Gallery features contemporary artists who are reframing the … Read More

Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness

Maureen MurdockMental Illness18 Comments

A friend of my son’s recently sent me an interview on NPR with the actress Glenn Close who is the co-founder of Bring Change 2 Mind. The nonprofit organization aims to confront the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. You may have seen a documentary about Bring Change 2 Mind taped in Grand Central Station. What impressed me about … Read More

When Did We Lose Our Humanity?

Maureen MurdockCriminal Justice System7 Comments

Prisoner in solitary confinement

Just imagine what it’s like to be entombed day and night in a 7 ½ by 12 foot cement box commonly known as solitary confinement. In spite of the fact that the California prison Hunger Strike has been in effect since July 8th and has been covered by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times and NBC to name … Read More

Solitary Confinement and Mental Illness

Maureen MurdockCriminal Justice System, Mental Illness10 Comments

29,000 inmates at California State prisons are on food strike. They are rejecting their meals in protest over solitary confinement conditions, poor food quality, a lack of warm clothing and cut-backs in education and rehabilitation programs. There has been a consistent reduction of programs and classes offered in prison because of  funding cuts despite the fact that the facilitators for … Read More

Addiction is a Disease Not a Moral Failure

Maureen MurdockAddiction7 Comments

The best way to reduce the stigma of addiction is to recognize it is a disease and treat it as such. One of the reasons parents like myself find our child’s addiction so bewildering is because of the changes in their behavior. From seemingly well-adjusted, happy, fun-loving children they become deceptive, manipulative and dishonest adolescents and young adults. Every parent … Read More

Why is this Mother Telling Us this Story?

Maureen MurdockMental Illness11 Comments

Several of you have asked when my book is coming out. At first, I did not find a publisher interested enough in mental illness and addiction in the family to publish it. It just isn’t sexy. One New York editor, in rejecting the book wrote, “I wondered why [this mother] was telling us this story.  The scope of this book … Read More

Treatment is Not the End, It’s the Beginning

Maureen MurdockAddiction, Mental Illness3 Comments

Drug Rehabilitation

William Cope Moyers, son of Bill and Judith Moyers, struggled with addiction to alcohol and drugs for 15 years and has written an excellent book on recovery entitled “Now What? An Insider’s Guide to Addiction and Recovery” reviewed by Jane E. Brody in The New York Times. When he gave up trying to get clean “his own way” he finally … Read More

Getting Serious about Mental Health Care

Maureen MurdockMental Illness4 Comments

“We are going to need to work on making access to mental health care as easy as access to a gun.” President Obama According to a survey by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 45 million adults nationwide suffered from some mental illness in 2011. About 11 million had a serious illness and of those … Read More